Benson member spotlight: Helen Hall & Margie Schlesinger
The Benson Center
3rd quarter 2024

Helen Hall & Margie Schlesinger

May was Older Americans Month (OAM). OAM is a national observance that celebrates the contributions and achievements of older adults. The theme for 2024 was “Powered by Connection.” A variety of events were held at the Benson Center, including a Mother’s Day luncheon, a Sip and Paint Event, an Evening of the Arts, a Third Act Dating Workshop, a field trip to an Atlanta Braves Game, a Greatest Milestone Celebration, and a Community Day. The Greatest Milestone Celebration was a luncheon and program honoring members over 90 years old. It was a fantastic event and enjoyed by all. The oldest attendee was 109 years old!!! Many of the honorees have not been able to attend the center as frequently as they had in past years, but over 25 of them attended the event and several of the attendees were members of the famed Bread Gang!

The Bread Gang established relationships with local groceries and bakeries (Publix, Costco, Trader Joes, Panara Bread, Kroger) to collect their soon to be expired bake goods. Three days a week, the items were distributed for a donation of $0.50 to $3.00. Wildly popular with Benson members and the public, the Bread Gang was an on-going fundraiser for the Friends of Benson for over 20 years until March, 2020.

Margie Schlesinger, now 98 years old and as stylish as ever, was born in Carrol County, GA and moved to Atlanta at the age of eighteen. Margie worked for Franklin Simons Department Stores for 26 years, working her way up from Salesclerk to Regional Manager with four stores under her guidance. After the stores closed, she worked for Aetna Life for 17 years. Looking to stay active after retiring, Margie joined the brand-new Benson Center in 1999. Shortly thereafter, she helps start the Bread Gang and led it until 2020.

Another honoree and Bread Gang volunteer, member Helen Hall was born in Budapest Hungary and moved to the US in 1951. Settling first in Baltimore Maryland and then Miami Florida, she moved to the Atlanta area in 1978 after her husband passed away. Helen worked at Sew and Sales for many years and traveled all over the country teaching different types of crafts classes. After retiring she joined the Benson Center and the Bread Gang, becoming known as the Ticket Master. Miss Helen, as she is affectionately called, turned 100 years old on May 24th and was serenated with several rounds of Happy Birthday at the Benson Greatest Milestone Celebration. She is a Holocaust survivor and has led a remarkable and truly inspiring life.

View and/or download a pdf file of this post here (2 pages, more pictures):



June 2024, Knitting Class Hat Donation
The Benson Center
Beginner Knitting Class

Knitting Instructor of Benson Senior Center Nasrine Safi donating hats from Beginner Knitting Class to Children Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite.

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Benson member spotlight: Stanley Southerland
The Benson Center
1st quarter 2024

Stanley Southerland

Stanley Southerland was born in Harlem, New York, the youngest of four brothers. During high school, in addition to his academic studies, he participated in basketball and track. After graduation, he pursued a career in construction and remodeling.

Over the years, he began to feel that New York City was too fast paced, too crowded, too much. He moved to Georgia in 1995, finding it friendly and welcoming. It is here where he found a spiritual awakening and peace. A family matter prompted a move to Ohio in 2002, but Stanley returned to the Atlanta area in 2006 and considers it home.

A job injury precipitated an early retirement in 2012. A friend told him about the Benson Center, and he has been an active participant since that time. In retirement, Stanley found a new passion in volunteering and because he loves people and loves to talk, it is a perfect match. Volunteering keeps him actively involved in the community and he has been a part of the food ministry at his church for the last 10 years. Here at the Benson Center, he has volunteered in the kitchen and for years assisted with the seasonal decorating of the lobby.

The Mayor of Atlanta and Stanley Southerland

Stanley has taken just about every class and workshop offered at the center: art, photography, computer classes, fitness classes, even swim lessons. In fact, it was here that Stanley, who had been afraid of water all his life, learned to swim! He is now a regular participant in a variety of water classes. He credits the center’s activities for vastly improving his overall health. To anyone considering joining, Stanley says “Come on down, I’ll bring them. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

View and/or download a pdf file of this post here:

Making Energy Savings Possible

Free Energy Improvements for Income Qualified Seniors.

HopeWorks offers Georgia Power senior residential customers valuable information on ways to save money on their energy bill while keeping their home comfortable and efficient.

Income-eligible seniors can receive a complimentary in-home assessment analyzing potential energy-saving opportunities, followed by FREE home energy improvement services performed by a participating Program Contractor.

For more online information, go to the Georgia Power website's HopeWorks page here: HopeWorks.

Download and read the flyer here:


Benson Member Spotlight: Patricia (Pat) Ann Oliver Mercer
The Benson Center
3rd quarter 2023

Patricia (Pat) Ann Oliver Mercer was born in Nashville, TN. She worked for the State of Tennessee in various administrative roles, including secretary to the Captain of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Pat visited a cousin in Atlanta and decided to stay. Pat can be  described as a “lifelong learner.” Once she’s interested in something, she researches and studies it and learns as much about the subject as possible. She is indeed a “Renaissance Woman.”

While attending a soap stone carving class at church, Pat met Edward Mercer and the rest is history; they have been married for 48 years. Pat and Ed owned and ran a successful Diamond Saw Works franchise until retiring in 2003.

Pat is an environmentalist and conservationist. She is passionate about the environment and maintaining the earth’s natural beauty and natural animal habitats. It is no surprise she  loves gardening, hiking, and volunteering. And she is an excellent cook! Her passion is  reflected in the incredible volunteer work she has been engaged in:

  • Camp Counselor with the Unitarian Church in Virginia for 30 years during the summer, Leading Nature hikes and Back Packing class.
  • Teaching Wild Edible and Backpack classes at local community colleges.
  • Over 12 years with the Georgia Aquarium working on numerous initiatives:
    • Marineland Dolphin Center
    • Sea Turtle Nesting on Jekyll Island
    • Right whale Research Project – Flagler Beach
    • Whale shark Research Project
    • Wounded Warrior Dive Program

She is a member of the Georgia Native Plant Society, the Herb Society of America, the Dahlia Society of Georgia, and the Georgia Perennial Plant Society.

Pat joined the Benson Center about 10 years ago and remains a very active participant. She has taken craft classes, water and land fitness classes, Mahjong, Bocce, and she rarely misses a workshop. To anyone considering joining the center, Pat says “You’ve got to come. There’s so much to do! You’ve got to get your butt up and move.”

View and/or download a pdf file of this post here:

GLS Summer Reading Program 2023
Georgia Library Service for the blind and print disabled

FREE Library Fun for Blind and Print Disabled Georgians of all ages.

Authors! Activities! Reading! Prizes!

Adults, teens, and kids of all ages are invited to join the Fun!
Earn points by reading what you like, attending events online or in person, and exploring different activities at home and in the
Stick with it all summer and get a cool prize!

Kickoff Events:

  • Virtual: Thursday, June 1, 1:00 PM on Zoom
  • In-Person: Thursday, June 8, 1:00-3:00 PM at Decatur Library

Learn more and register now at 

Download the flyer here:

Synexus Clinical Trails

Synexus offers a variety of clinical trials across the U.S. and around the world.

Right now, trials for the following mental health conditions are enrolling in your area:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety

If you're between the ages of 18-65, take action.
Adults who qualify and participate may receive:

  • No cost study medication and study-related care
  • Compensation for time and travel


Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Anxiety can impact every part of your life. None of these conditions can yet be cured, and not everybody responds well to available medication.

More treatment options are needed. You could help.

With over 200 clinics around the world and 20+ years of experience, Synexus is proud to be on the front lines of medical research. It is only through clinical trials that we learn if medicines and treatments are both effective and safe. 
Synexus complies with the high ethical and scientific standards established by the World Health Organization.

Together for the future of health.
In collaboration with Acurian Health.

Contact info:
6065 Roswell Rd NE
Suite 820
Atlanta, GA 30328
Call: (470) 865-2866

Download the flyer here:

Benson Member Spotlight: Donald Baggett
The Benson Center
2nd quarter 2023

Donald (Don) Baggett was born in Portsmouth, VA while his dad was stationed there in the Navy. Being a child of a career military officer, Don attended 14 different schools from kindergarten through high school, finally settling in north Florida. As a young man on his first job, he saw NASA history, watching the launch of Apollo 11 from the building windows in 1969.

Don first moved to the Atlanta area to attend theology school, 1978-1981. Returning to Florida after graduation, he became an ordained minister as a pastor in the United Methodist Church denomination.

In 1990, he began his second career as a Computer Programmer and returned to the Atlanta area in 1994. He retired in 2019, after a 50-year career spanning 2 very disparate occupations.

Enjoying retirement now, Don has four passions:

  1. His family: he and his wife Shirley together have 5 children and 5 grandchildren.
  2. His involvement with St David's Episcopal Church, as an usher, Sunday School teacher and head of the Stephen Ministry. The ministry offers listening and support and assist individuals in navigating a crisis.
  3. Classic Cars, especially those from the era of the 1930s and 40s, traveling several times a year to personal collections, shows and museums. He is a member of the Antique Automobile Club and America (AACA).
  4. Dancing: Cajun, Waltz, Two Step, Jitterbug and Zydeco. He is an instructor, DJ and the current president of the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association (ACZA). Don dances at events and festivals around the country, including Madi Gras in rural Louisiana.

Don was already familiar with the Benson Center since the ACZA often rented the facilities for their dance events. He officially joined the center when he retired and has since taken many classes and workshops including Mahjong, Circuit Training, Aqua Bikes and Zumba.

His advice for anyone considering joining? “In retirement, it’s important to stay active and build a social network of other people and keep your mind active and growing. You can do all of that at the Benson Center.
There are few places like it, plus it’s free for Fulton County residents and they serve a great lunch!”

View and/or download a pdf file of this post here:


Hope Works Homeowner Heating
HOPE WORKS, Caring Hearts Helping Hands

Hey Seniors... How would You like to be First in line...

For a new Gas Furnace (Heat Only) or Gas Water Heater

  1. Must be 65 and Older
  2. Must OWN and be living in the home
  3. Must meet Program and Financial Guidelines
  4. Purchase Gas from one of the following Gas Marketers:
  • Georgia Natural Gas
  • Scana Energy
  • Gas South
  • Constellation Energy
  • Stream Energy
  • Town Square Energy
  • ​Walton Gas
  • Xoom Energy
  • True Natural Gas *Fuel Georgia

Beat the RUSH this Fall. Call Today!

Please Contact HopeWorks (404) 872-0167

HOPE WORKS, Caring Hearts Helping Hands

Download the flyer here:

Medicaid redetermination is comming soon
Georgia Department of Hunan Services

Medicaid redetermination is comming soon.

What does that mean for me?

You should update your contact information to stay informed about your family's Medicaid status.

What to Do Right Now:

Visit before April 1, 2023!
Need help? We've got you covered. You can schedule an in-person visit for support at your local Division of Family and Children Services office. To find the location and business hours for your local office, visit:

If you need help reading this information or communicating with us, call 1-877-GA-DHS-GO (1-877-423-4746). Our services, including interpreters, are free. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking, you can call us at the number above by dialing 711 (Georgia Relay).

Why Is It Important to Act Now?

To Stay in Charge of Your Healthcare Coverage.
In December 2022, the federal government passed the Omnibus Appropriations bill, officially permitting states to begin Medicaid redetermination on April l, 2023. At that time, Georgia will check who is still eligible to receive Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids@ coverage. This is called "redetermination." During this time, Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids@ members may be asked to provide more information or complete certain steps. It is very important to respond to these requests that will be sent in the mail or to your email.

Who May Be Affected?

People Enrolled in Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids@ Coverage.
Medicaid eligibility reviews have been paused for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids@ members under the COVID public health emergency since 2020, but that will soon be  changing on April l, 2023. Here's some good news: If you or your family have been receiving Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids@ benefits and haven't taken other steps, you may still have coverage'. Now is the perfect time to update your information so you can stay informed.

People Who Are Not Sure if They Are Enrolled in Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids@ Coverage.
If you think you or your family may be enrolled in Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids@ coverage, but you aren't sure, now is the time to take action to learn your status.

Get Started Today

  • Visit and confirm your contact information and stay in control of your healthcare.
  • After providing updated contact information, you  can receive updates, resources, and alerts related to your status. 
    'The redetermination process does not guarantee any person's eligibility for Medicaid or other available coverage.

Stay Informed. Stay Covered.

One of the most important things members can do during the redetermination process is to make sure their contact information is correct.

You can do this by:

  • Visiting the online Gateway portal:
  • Visiting your local Division of Family & Children Services office:
    249 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy, NW
    Atlanta, GA 30318

    (Office hours are Tuesday-Thursday from 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.)
  • By phone call:

Please make sure you check or change your contact information by April l, 2023, and continue to keep it up-to-date.

For additional information and a list of frequently asked questions, please visit or

Download the informative Flyer here:

You can also read more at Medicaid Unwinding | Georgia Department of Human Services.

The Benson Buzz 4th Quarter 2022
Friends of Benson

"Press" on image below to open a pdf copy of our 4th quarter 2022 newsletter for you to read, print or save on your computer, tablet or phone.

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CDC MyMobility Plan
CDC website

"Many people make financial plans for retirement, but not everyone plans for other changes that may come with age. This includes changes in your mobility—your ability to get around.

There may be a time when you still need to get around, but can no longer drive.

It’s not easy to talk about, but as we get older, physical changes can make it harder to get around and do things we want or need to do—like driving, shopping, or doing household chores.

You might not have mobility problems now, but you could in the future. You may even know others who already do—perhaps a parent, relative, friend, or neighbor. While it may not be possible to pr event all of these changes, there are actions you and your loved ones can take today , and as you age, to help keep you safe and independent tomorrow."

Source: CDC

View, read, print and/or download the CDC-AdultMobilityTool-9.27 here.

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The Benson Buzz 3rd Quarter 2022
Friends of Benson

"Press" on image below to open a pdf copy of our 3rd quarter 2022 newsletter for you to read, print or save on your computer, tablet or phone.

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Cancer Support Community Atlanta, New Live Virtual Programming
Cancer Support Community Atlanta
Cancer Support Community Atlanta logo

During this challenging time, Cancer Support Community Atlanta is still here for you.

As we follow the critical guidelines of self isolation, we are actively exploring new ways to offer support through online and virtual programming..
We hope that this will help you stay connected and receive the support that you need.

Please check our (CSC ATLANTA) Website and Facebook often for updates on ways we will serve your needs.

Our (CSC ATLANTA) Calendar is available online. Join us as we walk this cancer journey together.

Go to their website for more up to date information:

Make sure you register on the Cancer Support Community Atlanta website for the program(s) that you want to follow.

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MARTA Accessibility Committee (MAC) candidates
MARTA - Wednesday, December 30, 2020
MARTA Diversity and Inclusion

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is seeking individuals with disabilities and seniors to represent the following areas of expertise:

  • Extremity Impairment
  • Cognitive/Developmental Disabilities
  • Personal Mobility Aid/Wheelchair User
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Seniors (Must be 65 years of age or older)

MARTA has established the MARTA Accessibility Committee (MAC), a voluntary advisory committee organized to advise MARTA on how to best provide service to the communities of seniors and individuals with disabilities within the MARTA service areas of Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton, counties and the City of Atlanta. MAC's responsibilities include gathering and providing feedback to MARTA to ensure that decisions, activities, programs, and services are equitable and do not adversely impact current or potential riders who are seniors or individuals with a disability. MAC provides feedback to MARTA regarding policies, programs, and processes; this includes advice regarding targeted outreach efforts designed to solicit and gauge community input and facilitate examining all facts to ensure the non-discriminatory impact of the agency's decisions and activities.

Candidates are required to participate in an application and panel interview process. Interest candidates must also:

  1. Reside or work in the MARTA service areas of Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties and the City of Atlanta, or be employed with organizations providing services in the MARTA service areas within Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties and the City of Atlanta.
  2. Know the purpose and mission of the MAC and the ADA as it applies to public transportation. 
  3. Be a transit rider who knows how to utilize the MARTA system.  (Fixed Route or Mobility).
  4. Be active in the disability communities they represent, as demonstrated by participation in organizations or community groups.

Interested candidates can go to the MARTA website at, click Getting to Know MARTA, Accessible Services, and MARTA Accessibility Committee (MAC) application.
Or jump straight to the MARTA Accessibility Committee webpage and then select the application link on that page.

Submit completed application and two letters of recommendation to

If you wish you can view a pdf of this news post here:

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MARTA invests in bus safety features, resumes front door boarding, onboard fair collection
MARTA (9/2/20)
MARTA video: David installs new bus safety features

ATLANTA – The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has invested approximately $250,000 in bus safety features to further protect the health of employees and customers and allow for the resumption of front door boarding and onboard fare collection beginning Monday, September 7.

MARTA has outfitted its entire fleet of 539 buses with polycarbonate shields around bus operator cabs, antimicrobial air filters that clean the air onboard, and mask dispensers.

"At the onset of this health crisis, MARTA implemented operational adjustments such as rear door boarding to limit contact between operators and customers. Our most recent safety measures, installing bus operator shields and air filters, allow us to return to front door boarding and onboard fare collection," said MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker. "We are grateful to our customers for continuing to mask up and social distance, and we remain committed to making MARTA a clean, safe place for everyone who relies on essential transit service."

Every MARTA bus now has antimicrobial air filters that remove viruses and other airborne pathogens from the circulated air onboard and a tissue-like mask dispenser mounted near the front door. For additional customer convenience, MARTA Transit Ambassadors continue to distribute masks at rail stations and bus bays throughout the system. To date, MARTA has handed out 459,000 masks.

To assist with the boarding process, customers should have fare ready and enter the bus through the front doors and exit through the rear doors. Customers requiring the accessibility ramp should continue entering and exiting through the front door. Beginning Monday, September 7, all bus customers must have fare and wear a mask in order to ride MARTA.

Go to the MARTA website to see the latest MARTA Press Releases with latest Rider Alerts.

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MARTA Service Modifications

MARTA has implemented operational adjustments to protect the health and wellness of employees as they continue providing essential transit service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, MARTA has made service plan changes to bus and rail operations to address the dramatic ridership and revenue decline seen in the wake of this national health crisis. We will continue to update this page with changes as they occur.

Go to the MARTA website here, MARTA Service Modifications, for most recent updates on MARTA rail and bus systems changes.

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2nd Quarter 2020 Class Registration
From The Benson Center
Last update: Tuesday, february 4, 2020
Class Registration

Important Notice (3/14/20):

Due to the CORONAVIRUS, the Benson Center 2nd Quarter Classes and Registration are postponed until further notice.

Benson 2nd (Spring) Quarter 2020 Class Registration Dates & Times:

  • March 16 - 18, 2020
  • This three day process will include both “Home & In-Facility” Registration


The registration system opens at 9:00am on Monday March 16th and closes at midnight Wednesday March 18th. 
You can register from your home during this time.


Need help registering?
We have “IN FACILITY” Registration with “Staff Support.”

In Facility Registration starts Monday, March 16th at 9:00am and ends Wednesday, March 18th at 3:30pm:

  • Morning support from 9:00am to 12:00pm
  • Lunch break 12:00 to 1:30pm
  • Afternoon support 1:00 to 3:30pm

Staff will be available to answer questions, and provide assistance during these times.

There is a "Drop/Add" Class Registration Period from March 30th to April 7th, 2020.

New Member Online Registration: a User name and Password will be necessary to register online, please see a member of the administrative staff to obtain it.

You can also view or download a pdf copy of our 2nd Quarter 2020 Class Schedule (revised 3/11/20) here:
Benson Center 2nd Quarter 2020 Class Schedule

First day of Spring Classes is Monday March 30th.

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Benson Senior Facility Aquabikes a First for Georgia
Fulton County Government
External Affairs Communications Division
Benson Senior Facility Aquabikes Workshop

Aquabikes provide a low-impact, high intensity workout that protects joints and muscles.

ATLANTA—Fulton County seniors who use the Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Facility can now exercise in the pool with seven new Hydrorider Professional Aquabikes. The Friends of Benson successfully sought an $8,500 grant from the Sandy Springs Society for the new water exercise alternative and donated the remaining $4,645 toward instructor training, bike ordering and shipping charges. Benson Fitness Program Coordinator Nicole Wyche noted that the Benson Facility’s Aquabikes are a first for Georgia.

Benson Center Senior Facility Aquabikes

After the idea for the alternative water exercise was presented to Facility Manager Sabrina Hudson by a former Benson instructor, Friends of Benson Board member Harvey Levitt researched the idea of Aquabikes and visited a YMCA in Knoxville, TN to observe the program. Following the visit, Friends of Benson President Russell Sellars submitted the grant request and Benson now has seven Aquabikes and one Spin Bike.

District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis expressed his appreciation to Friends of Benson and the Sandy Springs Society. “We commend the Sandy Springs Society and the Friends of Benson for their financial support in bringing this valuable equipment to the Benson Senior Multipurpose Facility. We believe Aqua Cycles offer another fitness ALTERNATIVE for seniors in need of low impact options that are easier on joints and muscles,” said Ellis.

“We are excited about the addition of Aquabikes to the fitness activities at the Benson Multipurpose facility ” said Health and Human Services Deputy Chief Operating Officer Dr. Pamela Roshell. She added, “Partnerships and collaboration bring added value to our programs.”

The Benson Facility is currently conducting workshops for seniors interested in participating in future classes. The workshops are scheduled every Monday and Friday from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. Seniors are required to register to try out the bikes by calling the Benson Senior Multipurpose Facility at 404-613-4900.

The Friends of Benson decision to support the Aquabike program was based on the following benefits:

  • a high calorie burn
  • Lean muscle building
  • Increased circulation
  • Low impact on joints.

Aqua cycling classes provide a low-impact, high intensity workout that keeps participants’ joints, bones, and muscles protected from injury. Participants can aqua cycle at many levels with workout adjustments made by the certified trainer and the individual as needed.

For more Fulton County news, sign up for the weekly e-newsletter #OneFulton at You can also visit Fulton County’s website at or connect with Fulton County government on Twitter at @FultonInfo or Facebook at @fultoninfo

If you need reasonable accommodations due to a disability, including communications in an alternate format, in order to participate in any County-sponsored programs or meetings, please contact the Department of Disability at (404) 613-0237 to facilitate your request. For TDD/TTY or Georgia Relay Service Access, dial 711.

Read and/or download the original Fulton County News Release (265kB)

Original source:
Fulton County Georgia Logo 2019
External Affairs
Communications Division
MEDIA CONTACT: Felecia Church
404-612-5570 or 404-713-5995 (cell)
141 Pryor Street, SW, Suite 3090
Atlanta, GA 30303
Friday, November 02, 2018

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Social Security Announces 2.8 Percent Benefit Increase for 2019
Social Security Announces 2.8 Percent Benefit Increase for 2019

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2019. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2018. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read the full Social Security Administration Press Release at the Social Security Administration's website, or read more at the Social Security Administration website.

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Important 2018 Georgia Medicaid Updates
Benson Center August 2018 Event Schedule
Sample Medicare Card


This month two important changes went into effect regarding Georgia Nursing Home Medicaid. The first affects Georgia Medicaid recipients "personal needs allowance". The second changes how the State of Georgia pursues "Estate Recovery" against deceased Georgia Medicaid recipients.

  1. Changes to the Personal Needs Allowance
    Each Georgia Nursing Home Medicaid recipient has a "patient liability" which is the amount that person owes their nursing home each month.
    This amount is calculated based on their monthly income.
    Certain deductions are allowed against their monthly income when calculating their patient liability.
    One such deduction is a "personal needs allowance" intended for the recipient's personal needs.
    For many years this amount was $50.
    On July 1st the State of Georgia increased the "personal needs allowance" to $65.
    This will cause the patient liability for each Nursing Home Medicaid recipient to decease by $15.
  2. Changes to Georgia Estate Recovery
    Prior Georgia Estate Recovery law exempted estates of deceased Medicaid recipients if the estate was valued at $25,000 or less from recovery.
    If the estate was valued at $25,001 then the Estate Recovery lien would apply to the entire $25,001.
    A new law that also went into effect on July 1st also exempts the first $25,000 of the estate from Estate Recovery.
    So, under the new law, if the estate is valued at $25,001, the Estate Recovery lien only applies to $1.

From: Brannon Napier Elder Law.

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Benson senior center gets new technology, Wi-Fi
Neighborhood Newspapers
Text is an integral copy taken from
Benson senior center gets new technology, Wi-Fi

Staff reports [Northside Neighbor - 05/16/2018, page B07]

Seniors who use the Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Facility in Sandy Springs are enjoying the benefits of new laptops and installation of WiFi in the facility. The new technological access is part of a pilot project made possible by a donation from the Sandy Springs Society.

Every year, the Society offers annual grant opportunities to nonprofits that serve the Sandy Springs community, and it donated $5,000 to purchase 20 laptops to allow enhanced access to computer technology for seniors eager to take advantage of computer classes and independent use of computer technology. The Friends of Benson submitted the grant and matched the award with a $5000 donation toward the technology upgrades.

With additional devices, the facility offers:

  • Tech Savvy Instruction: using iPads and laptops, as well as instruction on smartphone use targeting iPhone users. Benson hopes to offer the following technology-related activities in the near future:
  • Tech Savvy Fitness: nutrition and fitness tracking and monitoring using Fitbits donated by the Friends of Benson.
  • Tech Savvy Arts & Culture: exploring web based online tutorials as a student or instructor. 

The previous setup allowed the use of only the computer lab in the Benson facility. Now seniors can teach themselves or enjoy use of the new technology anywhere inside and outside of the building.

The technology upgrades also supported an enhanced registration process that allowed the use of the laptops for registration at multiple locations throughout the facility. The electronic process permitted an average of 50 additional class registrations per day during the recent registration period. Benson members were able to come in and register independently or with assistance.

Participants who registered for the classes participated in a lottery to determine which classes they will receive. The lottery method is a process designed to ensure that all participants have an equitable chance to participate in a variety of classes throughout the year. Several years ago, Senior Services instituted the lottery method because of the increasing demand for classes as the senior population continues to grow.

Photo caption reads: From left, Lynn Smith, Shomay Chern, Miles Rothman and Lawrence Lingner check out the new computers at the Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Facility.

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Understanding Your Fulton County Property Assessment
Source: Fulton County Government website
Your Fulton County Property Assessment

Your home is an important investment.
Property assessments reflect your home’s value and affect your property taxes.

Homestead Exemption Deadline is April 2 

If you live in a home you own, you may be able to reduce your property taxes by making sure you are taking advantage of all exemptions.  This is especially important as property values continue to rise across Fulton County and the metro area.

To qualify for homestead exemptions, the property owner claiming the exemption must own, occupy, and claim the property as their legal residence on January 1 of the year in which they first qualify for the exemption.

In addition to basic homestead exemptions, there are other exemptions available for seniors.  These exemptions have requirements for both age and income. Some require an age of 62 and others require that the applicant is age 65 or 70. Exemptions are available for people qualifying for full disability and other special circumstances.

Homeowners must apply for exemptions – they do not take effect automatically.  Basic homestead exemptions renew each year automatically as long as you own the home. Most senior exemptions also remain in place as long as you own the home. If any changes are made to the deed, even if the occupants remain the same, you will need to re-file for homestead exemption. 

To apply, you need to bring your driver’s license or Georgia ID and all vehicle registrations.  If you are applying for a senior homestead exemption, you should also bring both your Georgia and your Federal tax returns.

The first stop is the Fulton County Tax Assessors’ Office to apply for exemptions with Fulton County, Atlanta and Fulton County school systems and basic city exemptions (if any).  Fulton County seniors who live in the cities of Alpharetta, College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Hapeville, Milton, Palmetto, Roswell or Union City should also contact their city directly about any available senior homestead exemptions.

The 2018 homestead exemption deadline is Monday, April 2.  Fulton County residents can learn more online at or by calling 404-612-6440 X 4.

404-612-6440 X 4

Tax Assessors Offices:

Peachtree Center, North Tower
235 Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 1100, Atlanta, GA 30303

Fulton County Government Center
141 Pryor Street, SW, Suite 1018, Atlanta, GA 30303

Fulton County Customer Service Center at Maxwell Road
11575 Maxwell Road, Alpharetta, GA 30022

North Fulton Service Center
7741 Roswell Road, NE, Suite 261, Atlanta, GA 30350

South Fulton Service Center
5600 Stonewall Tell Road, Suite 224, College Park, GA 30349

Fulton County wants to help you better understand the property assessment process and your rights and responsibilities:
Read and/or download the 2 page flyer Understanding Your Fulton County Property Assessment
Read and/or download the 16 page Fulton County Guide to Homestead Exemptions

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New Medicare Cards are on the way!
By Andrew Johnson
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Sample Card

Changes are coming to your Medicare card. By April 2019, your card will be replaced with one that no longer shows your Social Security number. Instead, your card will have a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) that will be used for billing and for checking your eligibility and claim status.

And it will all happen automatically – you won’t have to pay anyone or give anyone information, no matter what someone might tell you.

Read more at:

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Also see our Disclaimer.